At the Network Rail information event at Poulton today, July 31st, we were told the line between Preston and Blackpool North will be closed in mid-November 2017 and re-open on a date in March 2018. A rail replacement bus service will operate.
This will also close the line to Blackpool South but the line between Kirkham and Preston will re-open in January which will enable trains to Blackpool South. The rail replacement from Blackpool North and Poulton will then run to Kirkham.
It was stated that trains to Poulton will not be run from January to March as Blackpool North is being re-modelled and there will be a lot of engineering trains and the electrical operation of the line needs to be tested and approved.
Power will be switched on for use in March 2018 but it will be up to the train operating companies what services they run on it. The Network Rail rep agreed that the companies have said they will run electric trains from May 2018, but it is up to them.
Other points raised were that Poulton station canopy will be restored sympathetically.
The line to Fleetwood is dotted in to the main track at Poulton on the plans and could be re-instated, obviously at a cost.
Forgot to ask about the Blackpool No 2 and Poulton signal box although we have been previously told it will definitely be demolished and control will be from Manchester.
To be honest there wasn’t a lot to see at the consultation. They provided 100 A3 pages of engineering data with 90 sheets listing nuts and bolts and a bland video. The 4 or 5 representatives were available but it did seem like they were trying to avoid offering anything to question.
In general it was a disappointing event, there is no information supplied as a summary or takeaway and you need to be ready with your questions to ask for any information.
It is a big close down period and surprising it’s being allowed.